Visa Rules and Government Procedures Hampering U.S. Science and Technology

(Adopted by Council on June 06, 2003)

National security and economic vitality critically depend on science and technology and strongly profit from contributions of foreign-born scientists and engineers. The American Physical Society calls on the United States Administration and Congress to implement appropriate and effective visa rules and government procedures that sustain science and technology. The rules and procedures must protect the nation against terrorism. They must also promote continuing international scientific and technological cooperation and ensure the flow of people and knowledge needed to guarantee economic strength and national security.

APS is concerned about national security, particularly in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. National security has many aspects that must be balanced in a modern and diverse society. In particular, the nation must maintain leadership in science and technology.

Science is international: foreign-born scientists play a critical role in the nation's economic vitality, national security and quality of life. Recent procedures and rules implemented to secure the nation's borders have resulted in long delays and denials of U.S. visas for many foreign scientists and students. The new procedures impede global industrial and academic partnerships. U.S. national laboratories, even those not engaged in classified projects, now have new rules that discriminate against scientists and engineers from certain countries. As a result, our partners are increasingly reluctant to participate in joint ventures. This isolation threatens irreparable damage to U.S. economic competitiveness and, ultimately, national security.